Lucky Seven Family

Tag Archives: Blended Family

Independence Day

Celebrations

Memories

Things to hold on to

Laughter

Traditions

Balance

Considering the weekend we’ve spent in North Carolina where I grew up…

Croaker Festival – a small festival in the county I was raised in; street dance, music, parade, fish fry, ice slushies, games, fireworks.  It’s not the same festival I went to as a child and finally as the “Croaker Queen” in my senior year of high school but it has not changed drastically.  People still gather and enjoy time together; children still run around the closed off streets.  My children have been to this festival several times and enjoy the tradition.  Times change and the experiences you remember as a child may not be the same you have as an adult.  We have to set our expectations for traditions like these.

In a blended family we have traditions.  Our annual ski trip, Thanksgivings in Maui, and boating on Lake Champlain in the summer.  These are important journeys with which we identify our family.  We must be flexible in our traditions still… life will change and traditions must change with them.  We are not static beings and neither should our traditions be.

Riding Uncle Mo’s fun toys!

Nerissa’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Locanda Cugnanello, Tuscany, Italy — Sunrise

cugnanello-sunset

I just spent a week in Tuscany with Jen Pastiloff at a Manifestation retreat.  Jen is a yogi and beauty hunter (www.jenniferpastiloff.com).  Her retreats are so much more than yoga; they are about creating magic.  Mixing yoga moves in with writing prompts, Jen gently guides us to become vulnerable and release the deep fears, shame, or hatred for ourselves that we carry.  I have attended three of her retreats and they are all different depending on the location, the attendees, and most importantly where your heart and mind are in that time of your life.

Our location in Tuscany was full of ever-changing colors and light.  We were housed in a magnificently renovated farmhouse and nourished by loving staff with Tuscan recipes – fresh-baked croissants filled with homemade marmalade, Tuscan bean soup, focaccia, house-made pasta with fresh porcini mushrooms (“giggle food” as my husband and I refer to it).

To celebrate our time together, the last writing assignment was to “describe your own 100th birthday party celebration:  the location, the party theme, and a speech or toast as well as who speaks to you”.  Each of us stood in the waning light of the day, outside Locanda Cugnanello, and read our tale to all of our new found loves.

We are in Corolla, one of the towns in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It is October and the night sky comes early in the evening.  The days remain warmly bathed in sunshine and the evenings provide a crisp, clean breeze on our skin.  We’ve gathered at our beach home where we have spent more than 55 years together; celebrating summer vacations, New Year’s Eve, and countless other special days.  Nerissa is surrounded by her 5 children; 2 biological and 3 from her marriage to Russell.  They have all married and have children of their own.  There are also 2 great-grandchildren that run from the house to the ocean to splash in the waves. 

Gathered on the top deck of the house; always Nerissa’s favorite place to read and relish her coffee in the morning and a glass of Vernaccio rosé in the evening.  The celebration starts with a Prosecco and a toast given by the five children:

Alida (Nerissa’s oldest step-daughter):  Nerissa, we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, (laughing) probably because we are both so strong-minded; please know that I love and appreciate everything you taught me about life.

Alex (Nerissa’s oldest child):  Mom, thank you for always believing in me and helping me find a way to follow my passions.

Sam (Nerissa’s step-son):  Thank you for taking interest in me and listening to me.  

Elaina (Nerissa’s daughter; named after Nerissa’s mother Elaine):  You have lived a full life Mim (Elaina’s name for Nerissa since she was 10 years old)! You’ve shared all of yourself and also your mother with us; her snickerdoodle tradition at Christmas will always be carried on.

Cassie (Nerissa’s youngest step-daughter):  Thank you for helping me balance my world by adding a feminine touch to everything, yet always making sure you taught us girls we could do anything.

THANK YOU FOR 100 YEARS OF YOU!! WE LOVE YOU!

100th-bday

 

Blended Family Quotes: Play

“It is a happy talent to know how to play”

— Ralph Waldo EmersonDCIM100GOPRO

Travel… what I hope we are teaching our children

life-quotes-travel-is-the-only-thing-you-buy-that-makes-you-richer

Tuesday Tip: Where will you be?

As many of you know, peppering your children with questions about their social lives, school day, or pretty much anything, is not the most effective way to get a conversation going!  We have a fun, yet highly informative, way for you to learn more about your children.  At our family dinners, we play a game called “Where will you be?”  Each child takes their turn telling us where they will be in 5, 10, 20 years (you choose the number of years from now).  The idea is to get them talking about WHERE they will be, WHAT  they will be doing, and WHO they will be spending time with.  We started this when we first became a blended family.  In those early days, our youngest was about 3 years old!  Her answers were cute and usually a play on something one of the older children had mentioned – my, how our lives have changed.  Now, she talks about graduating from high school 10 years from now!  This “game” is a no-pressure way to understand more about your children’s hopes and dreams – what college do they want to attend?  where do they want to live?  what subjects excite them?  where do they want to travel?  These are all amazing things you can learn from a “game”.

Try this with your blended family tonight!

 

Tuesday Tip #26: Birth Order

I’ve been interested in Birth Order for years – I find it so interesting that first-borns tend to behave differently than middle children whom also have different tendencies than the children born last in a family (and of course, there are many other combinations!).  Although there are always exceptions, I look at both Russell and myself (we are both first borns!) and our behaviors and expectations are quite similar.  After reading some of Kevin Leman’s The Birth Order Book, I became more intrigued about our blended family and how birth order affects our interactions with our children and their relationships with one another.

My youngest is a ten year-old that has plenty of talents.  She is an amazing gymnast and enjoys ballet and tap dancing also.  She is the youngest of my two children and thus, in our family (prior to LuckySevenFamily) she has been the ‘baby’.  Given her status in the family, she tends to be more protected than her older brother.  However, in our modern, blended family she is NOT the youngest/baby of the family.  Russell’s youngest child is a couple of years younger than her and on top of being the youngest of his three children, she was also born four years after the middle child, giving her the ultimate “baby of the family” status.  She is a great soccer player and tends more towards group sports than does my daughter.

The relationship between these two youngest girls is an intriguing one; they are the very best of friends and sisters.  Just this past weekend, they were shopping for school clothes together.  Ultimately, they chose several matching outfits – so cute!  However, there are times when they are ultra-competitive with one another; fighting for their position in the family.  Although they are only two years apart in age, my blondie is super tall and Russell’s brunette is a petite girl that looks several years younger than she actually is.  This discrepancy in size also plays easily into further “baby of the family” status for the youngest in our blended family.  For my daughter, not being the true baby of the blended family can be frustrating; in many ways she becomes a middle child which can be quite annoying for a true “baby of the family”!

Given this observation, we have to be careful about how we react to both girls.  Russell and I must work to provide both girls reassurance about their important positions in the family – striving not to always allow his daughter complete ownership of “baby of the family” role and providing some of that experience to my daughter.  Similarly, we have to remind my daughter that she must remember she is older and has more mature experiences than our youngest; thus our expectations ARE different.

I could provide plenty of other (very entertaining!) examples of how our oldest children deal with their positions and how Russell’s middle child has his role in our blended family.  For another day…

Remember how your blended family affects birth order among all of the children and consider how you can play up the strengths and down-play the drawbacks of these various positions in a blended family!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with birth order in a blended family! Feel free to leave under “comments”.